A taste of fake news

Cebu Daily News - - OPINION - MADRILEÑA DE LA CERNA

Fake news is not some­thing new. Dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign of the 2016 elec­tions, it was a pow­er­ful ma­chin­ery for some can­di­dates. But it was dur­ing the dic­ta­tor­ship that the coun­try was bom­barded with fake news, and it was done so bla­tantly. And I re­mem­ber vividly one ex­am­ple which hap­pened be­fore the as­sas­si­na­tion of Ni­noy Aquino.

My grad­u­a­tion for my MA in Asian Stud­ies in UP Dil­i­man was held on June 18, 1983 in­stead of March to co­in­cide with the 75th an­niver­sary of the foun­da­tion of the Uni­ver­sity of the Philip­pines. The grad­u­a­tion rites were held in the newly fin­ished uni­ver­sity gym lo­cated in the Col­lege of Hu­man Ki­net­ics be­cause of the heavy rains. I re­mem­ber trod­ding the muddy pave­ment from the main cam­pus to the gym.

There was ten­sion in the gym be­cause of the ru­mors that the stu­dents (grad­u­ates and those at­tend­ing) will stage a protest rally should Imee Mar­cos be in­cluded in the ros­ter of grad­u­ates in the Col­lege of Law. Dur­ing the cer­e­monies, we kept glanc­ing at the up­per boxes and bal­cony of the gym to see if there were stream­ers un­furled show­ing their protest. The grad­u­a­tion went on smoothly with­out any protest to our great re­lief. Still there was ten­sion for fear of the protest. I re­mem­ber leav­ing the gym in a hurry and I could not even greet my for­mer stu­dents who also grad­u­ated to avoid be­ing caught in a may­hem.

It was a public knowl­edge dur­ing my stay in the cam­pus that Imee could not grad­u­ate be­cause she lacked 35 units. Many of her batch­mates were my dor­m­mates in the cam- pus. In the first place, we learned that her ad­mis­sion to the col­lege was ques­tion­able be­cause she did not fin­ish her un­der­grad­u­ate stud­ies at Prince­ton but was ad­mit­ted just the same with in­tense pres­sure on the ad­min­is­tra­tion (whose ad­mis­sion poli­cies are very strict). Thanks to the very few good men and women at the UP Col­lege of Law led by the late Haydee Yo­rac, the in­tegrity of the col­lege re­mained in­tact by not let­ting her grad­u­ate.

How­ever, a few days later, I was shocked to watch on TV the “grad­u­a­tion” of Imee Mar­cos as magna cum laude at the Mer­alco The­ater with Fer­di­nand and Imelda Mar­cos putting on the hood and cap on Imee. I could not be­lieve what I saw. The next day, the “grad­u­a­tion” pic­ture was all over the front pages of the na­tional news­pa­pers.

Fast for­ward to the present — the cast of char­ac­ters in­volved in the mak­ing of fake news dur­ing the dic­ta­tor­ship are still around and have mas­tered the craft. But there is a new gen­er­a­tion of mak­ers of fake news who are out to de­stroy rep­u­ta­tions and char­ac­ters of peo­ple work­ing hard for the good of the coun­try. We should not tol­er­ate this prac­tice for the peo­ple es­pe­cially the young are over en­ter­tained and un­der­in­formed.

*** A very good news I learned last week was the an­nounce­ment of my good friend Jose Eleazar (Jobers) Ber­sales, di­rec­tor of the USC Press, that a book on the mar­itime his­tory of Cebu to be writ­ten by no other than Dr. Re­sil B. Mo­jares will be among those to be pub­lished by the USC Press. Since my col­lege days, I have al­ways wanted to read about the mar­itime his­tory of Cebu as a re­sult of my be­ing a ma­jor in his­tory. In fact, there was a time when I was tak­ing my master’s de­gree in Asian Stud­ies that I wanted to write about Cebu’s mar­itime his­tory. The dream strength­ened af­ter read­ing the book “1421: The Year China Dis­cov­ered Amer­ica.” The book was given to me by a for­mer high school stu­dent who ap­pre­ci­ated my class in Asian His­tory.

The book is a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to the prepa­ra­tions for the Quin­cen­ten­nial of Mag­el­lan’s Voy­age in 2021. This will also en­rich the sources on Philip­pine His­tory and es­pe­cially lo­cal his­tory.

There has been a sug­ges­tion floated about the plan to make the Sham­rock Ho­tel or bet­ter known as the Com­pa­nia Mar­itima build­ing, which is per­fectly lo­cated at the wa­ter­front, into a mar­itime mu­seum. This would be per­fect and this is what Cebu lacks.

Still on pub­lish­ing and pre­serv­ing, Jobers in his most unique per­sua­sive way has given me a tall or­der of writ­ing the mem­o­ries of my home­town Car­car be­fore mod­ern changes erase all of these. This sent me dig­ging into my past col­umns in CDN to start the work. So far, it was only Con­cep­cion Bri­ones’ “Life in Old Par­ian” that pre­served the mem­o­ries of Par­ian, a very his­toric part of Cebu’s his­tory. But be­fore Jobers gave this in­ter­est­ing but chal­leng­ing project, it was my friend Fe Na­putoReyes who sug­gested that I should write about my mem­o­ries of Luan­luan, the place in Car­car where I come from and which I have been writ­ing about. These two chal­lenges are enough to drive me to do the job.

She Voices mdelac­erna2001@ya­hoo.com

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